The first law of Newton’s laws of motion says that, an object at rest will remain at rest unless or until a force acts upon it. A moving object will continue to move at the same velocity, until a force acts upon it.
How can we apply this to our everyday lives to beat procrastination, gain momentum and get things done?
Get yourself from a “rest state” to a “moving state”!
All it takes to do that is a first step. It doesn’t matter how insignificantly small this first step might seem or maybe even be unrelated to the original task. It can create a miracle by giving you momentum.
All there is for you to do is to define a very first next action that you can do. Something that is small and doable (even if unrelated at first glance). Something that moves you out of your “rest state”. Let Newton do the rest.
Because once you get going, you keep going. This is Newton at his best.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND QUOTES:
Hi everybody. It’s Tasso.
Today, I’m going take you on a short time travel back to school. Can you picture yourself sitting in class and listening to the teacher? I am sure that sometimes the topic was so engaging, so exciting, and interesting that you wished the class would never end. And sometimes you were sitting there wondering “What the heck am I going to use this for in real life?”
[Unless you were a teacher’s pet. Then you probably never asked yourself this J]
Well, today, I’m going to give you an example for just that, and I’m going to do it a slightly unconventional way to get you thinking and to hopefully inspire you.
At least that’s the aim.
Let’s take Newton’s Laws of Motion for instance. I’m sure that you all are familiar with Newton’s Laws of Motion (if you paid attention in school). There are three of them but I’m going to focus on the first one.
The first law says that, an object at rest will remain at rest unless or until a force acts upon it. A moving object will continue to move at the same velocity, again, until a force acts upon it.
To give you an example, picture a football in the stadium. A football is at rest and it will remain at rest -it will not go anywhere- unless a player comes and kicks it.
Then it transforms from a resting object to a moving object and it would continue to move at the same speed until another player comes and kicks it into another direction or -as it normally happens- the force of resistance acts upon it slowing it down so that the ball comes back to a rest.
Now, what does all of this have to do with personal productivity, performance, and behavior, i.e. the things that I normally talk about in my blog? Well, it does because Newton is everywhere.
Have you found yourself for instance at work wanting to just capture a few notes about something that you heard at a meeting, just finding yourself that you end up completing the whole document?
Or a home, you start to maybe just arrange a shelf in the cupboard and end up cleaning the whole house.
What does it tell us? it tells us that all it takes sometimes in order to get an amazing amount of stuff done in an often very short period of time, is a first step.
It doesn’t matter how insignificantly small this first step might be or maybe even unrelated to the original task. It can create a miracle.
Because once you get going, you keep going. This is Newton at his best. This avalanche of chain of event is so powerful that it grabs your attention, it grabs your focus, and it’s very rarely interrupted. You go from a-z in no time.
Knowing this and using this can have impact in so many ways.
For instance, in the productivity space, experts always advise not to define anything as a project unless you attach a first next action to it. This next action that always should come along with a task that you define, can be no matter what, can be very small. Because it’s better to define a small next step that you actually will do rather than a big next step that you won’t do.
Let’s take the human behavior space for instance. Experts advise that you make something easier if want to create a new habit. Or you make something more difficult if you want to break a habit. For instance, if you find yourself eating a lot of chips, one thing that you can do is to put the bag further back in the cupboard or leave the bag of chips in the cellar so that you always would have to go down and pick them up.
I’ve read somewhere that only 20 seconds are enough. If you increase the effort by 20 seconds, meaning that when it takes you 20 seconds more to access it, you will rethink and impossibly not bother.
The same thing of course for the positive side of things. If you have a bowl of freshly washed fruits on the table, it’s more likely that you eat healthy and you grab a fruit on the go.
Now, this blog is really just a reminder for you. I know you know these things but I want you to use what you know.
For instance, at work, if you get stuck because you need to prepare an intimidating presentation that goes to senior management or it’s very, very, important. What you can do is you tell yourself, “You know what, I’m going to work only 10 minutes on it.” Chances are, you are going to end up working much, much more on this and maybe even have it completed. But even if you only worked 10 minutes on it…you’ve worked 10 minutes on it! You moved forward.
Or for instance at home, if you have washed your clothes and you see the washed clothes pile up unfolded, what you can say is, “I’m going to only fold the socks.” Chances are again, you are going to end up doing much, much more.
Or for instance, if you find yourself not going to the gym, or get outside for a run as you planned to, one thing that you could do is you can prepare your bag and put it next to the door. If you remember the examples and lessons from the human behavior, making something more accessible, makes it more probable that you will do it. Alternatively, you can tell yourself, “You know what? I’m going to just dress up and then see how I’ll feel.” Chances are, you’re not going to undress again. Once you put your sports clothes on, you actually would do what it takes.
You see that it’s not really that you’re lazy or that you can’t manage to get things done, it’s just that you are in a rest state and that all you need to do is to get yourself into a moving state.
All there is for you to do is to define a very first next step that you can do. Something that is small and doable (even if unrelated at first glance) but do that first step and let Newton do the rest.
I hope this inspired you a little bit. I hope this helped you understand the power of momentum. I hope this gave you some ideas on how to get moving when you find yourself procrastinating and when you find yourself looking for excuses not to do something.
If you liked it, please subscribe for more. Until the next blog post, all the best.